In today’s world, it seems everyone wants to define what Christmas is and how we should observe it. I want to simply share the Biblical story of Christmas, as an explanation of why Christians celebrate. The story is simple and easy to follow and to understand. So let’s hear what God in His book, the Bible, has to tell us about His story of Christmas.
The story of Christmas is woven throughout the entire Old Testament and comes to its conclusion in the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament). After the devil (in the form of the serpent) deceived the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, tempting them to question God’s Word, and thus bringing judgment on the world by their failure, God made a promise that He would send a special one to bring redemption (Genesis 3:15).
God gave glimpses of who was going to come one day to bring this salvation to His creation. I don’t have the space to give all the verses where God revealed the one who would come, but let me give you a verse from the prophet Isaiah (chapter 7, verse 14), where God reveals the one who will come will be born by the miracle of a virgin birth. Then, in the Gospel of Matthew, we learn the virgin was Mary, and the baby conceived in her womb was by the Holy Spirit.
God laid out where this baby was to be born by another prophet in Micah 5:2. Then, in the Gospel of Luke, chapter two, God gives us the details of how the baby Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem in a cattle stall, all according to His Word. Now, as fascinating as the details are in how God brought about the birth of His Son, Jesus, the greater story is in why God did all of it.
For that part of the story, we must go to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 10 and 11: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Do you see it? Do you hear it in the angel’s message? A Savior is born, and He is Christ the Lord. Christmas is about Jesus Christ, who was born to be a Savior. That which God had promised in Genesis to Adam and Eve had now been fulfilled. The Savior of God’s creation had come, and on Christmas we celebrate His coming.
The first part of God’s plan is complete and the next part begins as Jesus grows up and has three years of ministry, concluding with His death, burial, and resurrection on what we know as Easter. The hymn writer J. Wilbur Chapman says it best in the chorus of his hymn “One Day”: “Living He loved me, dying He saved me, Buried He carried my sins far away; Rising He justified freely forever: One day He’s coming O glorious day!”
Christmas is the day we celebrate His birth to be the Savior of all who will freely admit they are sinners and need His salvation. This is what brings so many different reactions to this season of the year, for if all we were doing was observing a birthday, there would be little to no opposition. But we Christians believe His birth was for the purpose of bringing salvation to lost humanity, and therein is the problem. Man does not want to recognize that he needs salvation or indeed that he even needs God.
The Bible makes it very clear we are sinners who cannot get to God except in the way God has chosen and that is only through His Son Jesus Christ. My prayer is that this Christmas many will see that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that they will worship Him and trust Him as their Savior from sin.
(John C. Dancer has been the pastor of the South Somerville Baptist Church for the past 32 years. He will retire from full-time ministry at the end of the month. He and his wife of 46 years, Donna, have three children and six grandchildren.)